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While secret laughter titter'd round the place;
fled: Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn, Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawa; Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen, And desolation saddens all thy green: One only master grasps the whole domain, And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain; No more thy glassy brook reflects the day, But, choak'd with sedges, works its weedy way; Along thy glades, a solitary guest, The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest; Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies, And tires their echoes with unvaried cries; Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless ruin all, And the long grass o’ertops the mould'ring wall, And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's band Far, far away, thy children leave the land,
Ill fares the land, to hast'ning ills a prey, Where wealth accumulates, and men decay, Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade; A breath can make them, as a breath has made : But a bold peasantry, their country's pride, When once destroy'd, can never be supplied.
A time there was, ere England's griefs began, When every rood of ground maintain'd its man; For him light labour spread her wholesome store Just gave what life requir’d, bnt gave no more; His best companions, innocence and health;
And his best riches, ignorance of wealth,
But times are alter'd; Trade's unfeeling train Usurp the land, and dispossess the swain; Along the lawn, where scatter'd hamlets rose, Unwieldy wealth, and cnmb'rous pomp, repose; And every want to luxury ally'd, And every pang that folly pays to pride. Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom, Those calm desires that ask'd but little room, Those healthful sports that grac'd the peaceful scene, Liv'd in each look, and brighten'd all the green; These far departing seek a kinder shore, And rural mirth and manners are no more.
Sweet AUBURN! parent of the blissful hour, Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power. Here, as I take my solitary rounds, Amidst thy tangling walks, and ruin'd grounds, And, many a year elapsed, return to view Where once the cottage stood, and hawthorn
grew. Here, as with doubtful pensive steps I range, Trace every scene, and wonder at the change, Remembrance wakes with all her busy train, Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.
In all my wand'rings round this world of care, In all my griefs—and God has giv'n my shareI still had hopes, my latest hours to crown, Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down; To husband my anxious day near the close, And keep life's flame from wasting by repose : I still had hopes, for pride attends us still, Amidst the swains to show my book-learn'd skill; Around my fire an evening group to draw, And tell of all I felt, and all I saw: And, as a hare whom hounds and horns pursue, Pants to the place from whence at first she few,
I still had hopes, my long vexations past,
O blest retirement, friend to life's decline;
Sweet was the sound, when oft, at ev'ning's close, Up yonder bill the village murmur rose; There, as I pass'd with careless steps and slow, The mingling notes came soften'd from below; The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung, The sober herd that low'd to meet their young, The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool, The playful children just let loose from school, The watch-dog's voice that bay'd the whisp’ringwind, And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind; These all in sweet confusion sought the shade, And fill'd each pause the nightingale had made. Kut now the sounds of population fail, No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale, No busy steps the grass-grown foot-way tread, But all the binoming flush of life is fed ; All bat yon w dow'd, solitary thing, Thal feebly bends beside the plashy spring :
She, wretched matron, forc'd, in age, for bread,
Near yonder copse, where once the garden smild,
place; Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power By doctrines fashion'd to the varying hour; l'ar other aims bis heart had learn'd to prize, More bent to raise the wretched than to rise. His house was known to all the vagrant train, He chid their wand'rings, but reliev'd their pain: The long-remember'd beggar was his guest, Whose beard descending swept his aged breast: The ruin'd spendthrift, now no longer prond, Claim'd kindred there, and had his claims allow'd; The broken soldier, kindly bid to stay, Sat by his fire, and talk'd the night away; Wept o'er his wounds, or tales of sorrow done, Shoulder'd his crutch, and show'd how fields were
won. Pleas'd with his guests, the good man learn’d to glow, And quite forgot their vices in their woe; Careless their merits or their faults to scan, His pity gave ere charity began.
Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride, And even his failings lean'd' to virtae's side ;
But in his duty prompt at every call,
Beside the bed where parting life was laid,
At church, with meek and unaffected grace, His looks adorn'd the venerable place ; Truth from his lips prevail'd with double sway, And fools, who came to scoff, remain'd to pray. The service past, around the pious man, With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran: Even children follow'd, with endearing wile, And pluck'd his gown, to share the good man's smile. His ready smile a parent's warmth exprest; Their welfare pleas’d him, and their cares distrest: To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given, But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven. As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form, Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm, Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread, Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way, With blossom'd furze unprofitably gay, There, in his noisy mansion skill'd to rule, The village master taught his little school; A man severe he was, and stern to view, I knew him well, and every truant knew. Well had the boding tremblers learn'd to trace The day's disasters in his morning face;